Go Set a Watchman – First Thoughts

Did I just run a marathon? Because my heart has been pounding in my chest for the last few hours and I’m nearly POSITIVE I’ve burned more calories and exerted more buckets of sweat laying in bed reading today than I ever have at the gym.

As I’m confident you all know, the first chapter of the highly anticipated Go Set a Watchman was released this Friday morning by the Wall Street Journal. The manuscript, written 60 years ago, was Harper Lee’s “first go” at her magnum opus; when told it wasn’t exactly right, Lee rewrote her entire story into the To Kill a Mockingbird we all know and love today. Flash-forward 60 years later, and we’re finally getting to read her first go.

I haven’t fully processed my thoughts or taken steps to calm my heart rate, but I needed to get my first thoughts out while they’re all fresh and swarming in my mind. If you haven’t yet read the first chapter, it can be found here. Warning, spoilers are a given…

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On the Cusp of Literary History

Today I started myTo Kill a Mockingbird reread just in time for July 14th! This is my first time rereading it in four years–I’m using the exact copy I annotated as a freshman, and it’s the coolest thing to see how much I’ve grown as a reader–but it somehow feels just as fresh as the first. Books like this live on for a reason, and I believe that reason is universal applicability.

A lot of times a book’s release is so highly anticipated that readers can tell it will make a lasting impression; but I can’t think of many times when it’s known prior to release that a book will become a classic. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m filled with this weird zeal knowing that we are literally living through literary history that will last for centuries. Someday my kids will be reading Go Set a Watchman along with TKAM as a freshman, and I’ll be able to tell them I read it the day it was released. The monumental importance of this book release is beyond me, just as I’m sure it’s beyond many of you as well.

If you haven’t already, make sure you start your TKAM reread before the highly anticipated July 14th! Chances like these truly come once in a lifetime.